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A Small Place in Italy
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Since first setting eyes on Italy at the age of 22 through the periscope of a submarine, Eric Newby has come to feel it is the country he knows and understands best. In 1967, he and his wife bought "Il Castagni", otherwise "The Chestnuts", a small and ruinous farmhouse in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the borders of Liguria and northern Tuscany. They were the first foreigners to live in this particular area, and the only ones. The house came complete with, among other indigenous wildlife, a large colony of cockroaches, a band of predatory mice the size of small cats and, unknown to them when they bought the house, a sitting tenant, Attilio, an extremely eccentric and ancient man who had once built an aeroplane and crashed it. In this book, Eric Newby describes how he and his wife pulled the house back from collapse and tells of their friendship with the neighbouring "contadini", country people, which endured for 25 years, and a way of life now changed almost beyond recognition.
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